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The Old Crowd: Minke whales have long thrived in Antarctic seas

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9:29am, February 23, 2005

New genetic studies of whale meat from Tokyo grocery stores appear to strengthen the case for protecting Antarctica's minke whales against renewed hunting.

The DNA from minke samples shows such genetic diversity that the Antarctic population must have been extensive for the past 200,000 years, says a Stanford University researcher. That long history challenges the view of some whaling advocates that the 8-meter-long minkes used to be rare in Antarctica but flourished as other whales dwindled. This boom supposedly keeps populations of bigger, competing whales from growing.

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